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Do tax reform the right way

Major tax reform is one of the most important tasks of this or any Congress. But those in charge of the current process seem hell bent to pass something, anything, that can be called tax reform before an arbitrary Christmas deadline, with no real input from Democrats (or Independents), outside experts, states and communities affected, or ordinary citizens.

It doesn't have to be this way. There are a substantial number of Democrats who are prepared to engage in good-faith negotiations involving hearings, expert input, and compromise, to write tax legislation that cuts corporate rates and does something about off-shore profits to stimulate economic growth.

Instead, all indications are that both the House and Senate bills would disproportionately benefit the largest companies and richest individuals while offering little to small businesses and punishing millions of middle class families. The proposals explode the deficits by at least $1.5 trillion — and the Senate bill would even dramatically increase the ranks of those without health insurance. This is why a strong consensus of economists has emerged that this particular tax plan will do little to promote a stronger American economy.

Bottom line: We believe that we can get to 70 votes, and probably more, for a more targeted (and less costly) alternative. The trick is to slow down, open up the process, and make sure we look before we take a thirty-year leap.

Go deeper: The full op-ed by Sens. Kaine and King.

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